No one quite knows how this started but Mark C and Kim had expressed a desire to go “On Tour” and in early February Copenhagen in late March was chosen as the destination for Highbury Fields parkrun to hit the road (“up North” and Dublin were both rejected as options before Copenhagen became the consensus pick).
On Friday March 22nd, Chris Orange, Jane Tooke, Kim Butler, Mark Colby and Martin Black left London on different flights bound to Denmark. All started going to plan with Kim’s and Mark’s flights touching down a little ahead of schedule, however, Martin was still sitting back in the BA lounge watching US College Basketball and sipping red wine as his flight was delayed. Jane’s flight took off and then Chris’s flight took off (the BA flight “after” Martin’s). Not long after that Martin’s much delayed flight was then cancelled. A quickish call got the ticket cancelled as there was no later flight with BA and the first flight out would get in a 10AM. However after a small amount of swearing a ticket was booked on the phone with SAS on their 8:30 flight; and with assistance from a Heathrow Airport employee Martin was on his way to T3. Time enough for a spot of dinner as the flight was delayed 30 minutes, oh hang on make that 90 minutes. Meanwhile, actually in Copenhagen Kim and Mark were in deep preparation for the morning run – they were in and out of pubs! Joined by Chris and Jane the preparations continued. At 12:45AM local time (only 5 hours later than planned), Martin was finally in a cab at Copenhagen airport ready for a quick prep. At 3AM we were settled in the apartment we had rented for the weekend and sleep was taken.
Only a few hours later, the wisdom of the trip was being questioned. Temperature of -3C with a real feel of -11C (according to accuweather) along with the careful preparations were suggesting that PB’s were not to be had today. The sun was bright, the sky clear and blue but there was a wind. Wrapped up the 5 headed out to find the bus to Faelledparken. Kim, our navigator, directed us perfectly to the correct bus stop where, of course, there was a local parkrunner who kindly lead us to park. The good news was that it’s a flat 3 lap course (according to one of the volunteers there is a 6m total rise). The course was covered in snow and half way around there was an icy patch. Kim and Jane limbered up playing on a large, 6 person swing; best not to say what Mark was up to in the leave-less bushes while Chris and Martin concentrated on staying warm. We blended beautifully with the locals, the orange t-shirts not causing any strange looks at all! Some of the locals had strap-on mini-spikes to handle the snow but we didn’t call the out for cheating. The instructions were clear and precise and in Danish so that was OK.
Off we went, slightly bemused by the quiet start catching Jane with her hair not tied up! 3 leaders took off followed by another visiting Brit (Alan Chapman) running in shorts and Chris a bit behind. Martin was slow into his running but felt comfortable with the underfoot conditions. Not only was the start line marked in the snow, so were direction arrows around the course. The one spot of ice needed careful navigation but it only covered a few strides. Split times were being called which indicated a sub-24 was on for Martin after 2 laps. Chris strolled in with a 6th place finish in 22:12 followed 7 places by Martin setting his parkrun pb with 23:43 (remarkable what can be done on the flat). Mark was a handful of places later in 25:06. Kim was 8th women home in 28:00 and Jane completed the team performance with 29:34.
After recovering and chatting more with the locals, we inflicted the remaining stock of Highbury Fields t-shirts on the volunteers who looked even more bemused. It was time to head back to the apartment and to get warm. Not long after we back then we were uploaded some photos to the Highbury Fields Facebook site and checking out the speedy upload of results. Recovery and showering was slow but we eventually got out to stroll around central Copenhagen for lunch and then a bit of tourism as we hunted down the mermaid (more navigation skills by Kim). Finally pastries were purchased and time to relax in warmth.
We learned many things, some about each other over the weekend including someone can do a mean John Lenehan impersonation (“Your dog will die”), someone had been busy mooning and (fly) tipping, Danes smoke in pubs, not everyone can re-fold a map, someone has 3 cups of coffee before anyone else is up, someone has comfortable but very ripped pj’s, someone knows how to resurrect a cold, dead iPhone, it can take more than 2 hours to cook a tomato pasta sauce, working in a city for several months does not mean you know where anything is, one of us completed their 75th parkrun at 25 different courses and more than one of us enjoy listening The Archers omnibus edition on Sunday mornings (note not all of these things are true!).
On Sunday most made their ways home on different flights leaving Mark behind for a more sightseeing on Monday. Mark did drag Kim out for a run on Sunday morning and the navigator almost got them lost in central Copenhagen but ran into Martin as he headed to the airport.
The following have been pinched, with thanks, from their photos and many thanks to all at Faelledparken Parkrun (we hope you come and visit our Parkrun soon):
Would we do it again – certainly, but perhaps somewhere warmer next time.